Keystone College has been the home of the Giants for a long time. We are celebrating our 150th anniversary this year and take pride in our giant accomplishments as well as humbly celebrate our mission to promote the common good as the little giants.
The ancient Greeks told stories of giants, describing them as huge creatures whose bones could be found coming out of the ground where they had been buried long ago. Around 200 CE, the Greek historian and Latin grammarian, Gaius Julius Solinus, wrote:
“Before there were any humans, the story goes that a battle was fought between the gods and the giants. Traces of the giants’ demise continue to be seen to this day, whenever torrents swell with rain and excessive water breaks their banks and floods the fields. . . . Even now in gullies and ravines people discover bones of immeasurable enormity. . . .”
Even today, large and human-like bones can be found in Greece. Modern scientists postulate that these large bones are the remains of mammoths and mastodons that once lived in the region. But the ancient Greeks were largely unfamiliar with these animals and many believed that the bones were the remains of human-like giants. Any unusual characteristics in the bones were thought to be due to the grotesque features of giants. Ancient authors often reported finding the remains of giants much taller than an elephant, probably due to the bones of several animals collected together and mistakenly reconstructed as a single “giant.”
Who are the giants among us today? Who are the greatest leaders among us in our community who witness to our convictions that it is better to live a generous life, an examined life, an interdependent life, a just life, a caring life, a virtuous life? I would like to suggest that we are able to live a better and more fulfilled life here at Keystone because we and they have dared to do more than was required, and we have dared to reach higher than we thought we could.
We are here today to especially share our gratitude for the thousands of unseen deeds of selflessness, the numerous times members of our community kept working when others gave up or left. We are here to celebrate and thank the gentle giants who have shared years of selfless giving to our students and to the entire College community.
Keystone College is unique in the intentional, caring way we foster student success in an engaging and thoughtful learning community. We invite giants into our community, we enthusiastically welcome people bigger than us, and we encourage the best in each other. We invite giants into our community, not to domesticate them, but to bring out the best in all of us. We include people bigger than us so that we can become a community of giants.
The awards we offer today are not about stature or title or position. The greatest among us, the giants among us, are those who serve most generously. You are our servant leaders.
Thank you to all of the honorees who truly call us to be giants.
– President David L. Coppola, Ph.D.